The Ultimate Guide to Self-Care with CBD – Neurological

Understanding the Impact of Cannabinoids on Your Brain

Understanding the way cannabinoids work within your body can be a difficult subject to wrap your head around. However, with specifically CBD-related research emerging year by year, we are able to connect more dots to create a picture of its therapeutic effects. And as we keep our ears to the rail for the new discoveries in the field, one particular cannabinoid seems to be grabbing most of the attention for itself. Of course, we’re talking about CBD (cannabidiol).

From a mood enhancer to a stress-relief supplement and a brain protector, CBD’s vast applications seem never-ending. What’s even more fascinating is the harmless, non-euphoric way in which CBD interacts with our brains and bodies. Stick with us to find out how CBD affects your brain.

CBD, or cannabidiol, has been gaining attention for its myriad therapeutic effects. From enhancing mood to relieving stress and protecting the brain, CBD offers a non-intoxicating alternative for those seeking holistic wellness. Let’s delve into the intricate workings of cannabinoids within your body and how CBD interacts with your brain.

Unveiling the Endocannabinoid System and Homeostasis

At the core of CBD’s effects lies the endocannabinoid system (ECS), a network of cannabinoid receptors regulating various physiological processes. Endocannabinoids, produced naturally by our bodies, play a crucial role in maintaining balance, or homeostasis. When imbalances occur, the ECS triggers the synthesis of cannabinoids to restore equilibrium.

CBD’s Interaction with the ECS

Unlike THC, which directly binds to cannabinoid receptors, CBD indirectly influences the ECS by enhancing signaling pathways. By modulating CB1 and CB2 receptors, CBD regulates functions such as mood, metabolism, and immune response.(1) Moreover, CBD inhibits the enzyme responsible for breaking down anandamide, a neurotransmitter associated with feelings of bliss and well-being.

CBD’s Impact on Other Receptor Systems

Beyond the ECS, CBD interacts with non-cannabinoid receptors, including opioid and dopamine receptors. By promoting neurotransmitter activity, CBD helps regulate mood, motivation, and cognition. Cannabinoid receptors play a pivotal role within the Endocannabinoid System (ECS). CB1 receptors predominantly reside in the brain, constituting a vital component of the central nervous system. However, they are not confined solely to the brain; CB1 receptors also manifest in the lungs, kidneys, and liver. On the other hand, CB2 receptors are primarily distributed throughout the body, where they actively engage in averting oxidative damage. (2)

Studies suggest that CBD’s effects on serotonin receptors may rival those of conventional antidepressants, offering promising therapeutic potential for mood disorders.

Neuroprotective Properties of CBD

CBD’s neuroprotective properties extend to preventing oxidative stress and excitotoxicity, processes implicated in neurodegenerative diseases. By modulating CB2 receptors and stimulating neurogenesis, CBD safeguards brain cells from damage and promotes neuronal regeneration. Additionally, CBD reduces activity in the amygdala, alleviating stress and anxiety.(3,)

Empowering the Mind: CB1 Receptors and Cognitive Function

CB1 receptors exert a profound influence on cognitive processes, owing to their predominant presence in the brain. By modulating neurotransmitter release and synaptic plasticity, CB1 receptors play a pivotal role in shaping cognitive functions such as memory, learning, and attention. CBD facilitates a harmonious balance within the ECS. This equilibrium fosters optimal mental clarity, metabolic efficiency, and robust immune function.

Fostering Emotional Resilience: CBD and Mood Regulation

A healthy brain ideally produces the right amount of neurotransmitters that keep our moods regulated and stabilized. Several kinds of neurotransmitters that play a role in regulating moods have been identified by researchers in recent studies. You may have heard of serotonin and dopamine. These two chemicals that help mood regulation  are present in lower levels as they should be when you’re not feeling like “yourself”.

To address the problem of the most severe cases, Big Pharma drugs have been developed synthetically with the ability to increase neurotransmitter levels. They block the re-uptake of serotonin in the brain and increase its levels in the synaptic space, thus sparking new neuron connections (neurogenesis) and, in many cases, resulting in an improved mood. However, pharmaceuticals aren’t the only agents with this ability—CBD has been proven to have similar effects, too. (4, 5)

CBD exerts a profound impact on emotional well-being by modulating CB1 receptors within the limbic system. Through its anxiolytic and mood-stabilizing properties, CBD promotes emotional equilibrium and resilience, thereby enhancing overall quality of life.

Proof is in the Pudding, so to speak

CBD’s therapeutic potential regarding low moods, stress, and addiction problems is linked mostly with its effect on the serotonin system. One study found that CBD may help boost signaling through serotonin receptors and affect the neurotransmitter faster than than some selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). (6)

In mice centered studies, CBD’s effect on the brain has been proven to reduce stress and improve mood. The precise pathway appears to be the CBD’s ability to act as a 5HT1A agonist (activator). (7)

It all seems a little complicated, but here’s the gist of it: CBD promotes activity of 5HT1A, a subtype of a serotonin receptor. Under the influence of CBD, your brain is able to transmit more serotonin and glutamate signals and allow for branching and creation of new neurons (neurogenesis)—changes that are linked with improved mood and reduced stress. (8)

The Bottom Line – It get’s you naturally in a chill mood that keeps you more even keeled than without it.

Prevents Oxidative Stress and Excitotoxicity from Occurring

CBD has emerged as a focal point in research due to its ability to shield the brain from various forms of harm, particularly excitotoxicity and oxidative stress. Excitotoxicity refers to the excessive activation of neurons, which can culminate in their demise. Conversely, oxidative stress occurs when the delicate balance between oxidants and antioxidants in the brain is disrupted, leading to cellular damage.

Studies have underscored CBD’s efficacy in mitigating excitotoxicity and oxidative stress, shedding light on its potential neuroprotective mechanisms. While the precise mechanisms remain elusive, researchers speculate that CBD’s interaction with the CB2 receptors and activation of the 5HT1A receptors play pivotal roles in its neuroprotective effects. (9, 10)

CB2 receptors, primarily found in the immune system and peripheral tissues, have garnered attention for their involvement in modulating neuroinflammation and neuronal function. CBD’s interaction with these receptors is believed to exert anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective effects, thereby shielding neurons from excessive activation and subsequent damage.

Additionally, as mentioned above, CBD’s stimulation of the 5HT1A receptors, which are part of the serotonin receptor family, holds significance in neuroprotection. Serotonin, often referred to as the “feel-good” neurotransmitter, plays a multifaceted role in brain function, including mood regulation and neuronal survival. By activating the 5HT1A receptors, CBD may enhance serotonin signaling, fostering neuroprotection and resilience against excitotoxicity and oxidative stress.

Relieves Stress by Reducing Activity in Your Amygdala

The amygdala, a region in the brain associated with emotions and survival instincts, plays a crucial role in processing stress. It is primarily responsible for triggering fear and anxiety responses. Activation of the amygdala occurs when our survival instincts are stimulated, leading to heightened emotional responses. Cannabidiol (CBD), a compound derived from cannabis, has gained attention for its potential in stress management. While the exact mechanisms of CBD’s effects are still under research, it is believed to influence the activity of the amygdala.(11)

Studies suggest that CBD may modulate the blood flow to the amygdala, thereby reducing its activity. By dampening the hyperactivity of the amygdala, CBD exhibits anxiolytic (anxiety-reducing) properties. This modulation of brain activity offers a potential avenue for stress relief and anxiety management. This mass of gray matter is activated when your survival instincts are stimulated and is thought to play a key role in processing memory of emotion—fear, in particular. Simply put, the amygdala is the reason we are afraid of things outside of our control. CBD has been observed to reduce activity in the amygdala, which is what scientists believe is the cause of its anxiolytic properties. (12, 13)

Choosing CBD Products and Dosages

When incorporating CBD into your wellness routine, it’s essential to start with a low dosage and gradually increase until desired effects are achieved. CBD products vary in strength and format, with tinctures and concentrates offering precise dosing and quick absorption. Consider bioavailability when selecting administration methods, such as oral consumption or vaping, to optimize CBD’s efficacy.

The Future of CBD: Promising Possibilities

While much remains to be understood about CBD’s mechanisms, ongoing research underscores its potential as a therapeutic agent. With evidence suggesting efficacy comparable to conventional medications, CBD holds promise for addressing various health concerns, from mood disorders to neurodegeneration.

CBD has emerged as a promising candidate for safeguarding neural health. While further research is warranted to elucidate the intricacies of its neuroprotective mechanisms, the existing evidence underscores its potential in preserving brain function and vitality. As the understanding of CBD’s therapeutic properties continues to evolve, it holds immense promise in revolutionizing neurological care and enhancing quality of life.

It’s worthy of note that these changes within the body occur at high levels of consumption and over a prolonged period of time. Again, because these studies have been conducted on primarily on animals, it is hard to predict CBD’s positive effects on human mental health exactly. Nevertheless, CBD appears to promote the formation of new neurons in the hippocampus area of the brain, which leaves us with high hopes for its future applications. (14,)

We can now conclude that, among other effects, CBD in higher serving sizes stimulates:

  • Improved mood by increasing activity of the 5HT1A serotonin receptor
  • Prevention of excitotoxicity and oxidative stress by increasing glutamate levels
  • Regeneration and branching of neurons in the hippocampus region of the brain
  • Stress relief through blood flow alteration in the amygdala region of the brain

In essence, cannabinoid receptors serve as the linchpin of the Endocannabinoid System, governing a plethora of physiological processes essential for optimal health and well-being. Through the strategic utilization of CBD, individuals can harness the therapeutic potential of these receptors, fostering holistic wellness and vitality. As we await further insights, CBD offers a beacon of hope for a happier, healthier future.